Returning New Zealand Soldier Fined Under Skynet Law

By Drew Wilson

Another person in New Zealand was fined under the New Zealand Three Strikes Law (or Skynet). This time, it was a member of the armed forces accused of downloading unauthorized works. He was fined $255.97 after receiving his third strike notice. The problem? He was serving his country in Afghanistan when the alleged infringement took place.

One of the many general criticisms of the three strikes law anywhere is that it would snag innocent people. In New Zealand, the Three Strikes law is guilt upon accusation, so it could even fine innocent people. That’s what happened to a soldier who was serving a tour in Afghanistan. He returned to New Zealand only to find that he received his third strike for copyright infringement. He was subsequently fined $255.97 because his guilt was simply presumed.

Here’s a snippet from Stuff:

A member of the armed forces has been pinged $255.97 by the Copyright Tribunal after his internet account was used by flatmates to illegally download and share Rihanna and Hot Chelle Rae tracks while he was on tour in Afghanistan.

The award is the fifth and smallest so far handed down under the three-strikes “Skynet” regime which was introduced in 2011 to provide “fast track” justice for rights holders trying to prevent music and movies being pirated through file-sharing services such as BitTorrent.


The fifth culprit wrote to the tribunal in November after he received his third and final “enforcement notice”, saying he had just returned from Afghanistan and was not aware of the infringing.

Regardless of the obvious circumstances, the record labels were more than happy to impose fines against him anyway – to which the tribunal complied.

This latest embarrassing revelation followed an earlier one last month where it was revealed that the major record labels spent $250,000 just to reap the reward of $616.57.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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